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Chickened Out Finding our Courage

A note from LCMS World Mission missionaries James and Christel The book of Jonah may be one of the most meaningful texts to a missionary. Mostly because we’ve “been in that boat” ourselves. Sometimes God’s calling is hard to figure out, but as much as we pretend it isn’t the case, usually God’s direction is very clear, it just isn’t always the most comfortable. It’s not even usually physical danger, in those cases at least there is an excuse; the fact is that most of the time we just feel inadequate or embarrassed to share our faith. We usually come up with a pile of excuses, that we aren’t able to speak the language well enough, that the person God is leading us to appear too busy to hear the Gospel, that they are unlikely to change anyway, but in the end all these excuses are ridiculous. Jonah felt the same way about where God was leading him and he took a boat in the exact opposite direction to escape the situation. We even had a Bible Study about just this in Paraguay during our cross cultural training program. While in Peru, Christel and I had the opportunity to help out with an eyeglass clinic put on by MOST ministries, in an area where I already know a few people from my previous visit. We were given the opportunity to share our faith several times.

Though we were not always confident in the words we had to say, we could feel God’s calling and responded, in accordance with our recent training in Paraguay. The thing is we always know that if God is calling us, He will enable us to do the very thing He calls us to. It was an incredible privilege to see people respond to hearing the Gospel, for many perhaps for the first time. It reveals immediately that there really is nothing to be afraid of, if God invites you to participate in His work, He will take care of you. I would like to encourage everyone to think about who really is the one doing the calling and the sending when it comes to God’s work. Many times we know that God is calling us and that the Spirit is nudging us in one direction or another, but out of fear we deny Him like Peter or like Jonah. Remember that because God is the one calling us, we never have to be afraid, we never have to run to the other side of the world to avoid His calling because even there we will find Him, and He will put us right back on the path that He desires for our lives. Remember this the next time you feel that God is calling you to something, don’t be afraid.

on the topic of fear...Scary Calendars

Normally our calendar is scary because of all the days that are filled in with things to do, but this month we got an opportunity to see a scary calendar that was blank! In Peru the number one decoration inside the house is a company sponsored calendar. This may seem strange, but it’s actually a clever marketing tool that businesses use to get their name out in a society with less saturation from television and billboards etc. Businesses will get a nice picture (eg. a cute kitten) and put it on a calendar with their name on it, then go around distributing it for free to their clientele. This insures that the calendar will go on the wall because its both useful and aesthetic! I started to count the number of calendars on the walls in houses we would visit and I would say the average number of calendars a family has on the wall are around 15 or so! They never write anything on them, but they have them all over the place, the most popular image is of course Maccu Piccu, the famous Inca site. That said, one day we sat down for a typical “menu” at a restaurant (a menu is not the menu it’s a series of traditional peruvian style food and drink combos) and lo and behold we saw the image you see below. Now, it’s not unheard of for someone to pick a photo of a cute baby or a cute puppy so at first glance I just thought this was a little overkill to put a puppy AND a baby in the same calendar, but upon further examination I was struck by how bizarrely strange the entire image is, one baby’s head has clearly been photoshopped onto another baby’s body, and strangely morphed somehow in the process; while the dog looks on with a creepy stare, on top of all that, the baby is white so it’s clearly not just someone’s kid. These are the kind of mysteries that pop up whenever we travel, and I couldn’t help but put this in our newsletter just to share a little bit of what we experience. The Restaurant 4 Esquinas certainly got their moneys worth though, as I’ll be sharing this one for awhile!

Prayer Requests * Thanksgiving that everything we went to accomplish in Peru was done quickly and efficiently. *Our trip home for a wedding in July! * Safe travels for the youth of Panama who are going to the national youth gathering in the USA. * For the new Peru volunteers who are arriving soon! * That James’ documentary will be finished soon and well received!

July Newsletter  

News in July from Panama